White House proposal would give illegals residency within 8 year - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

White House proposal would give illegals residency within 8 years

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PHOENIX -

A leaked draft of President Obama's immigration bill is drawing criticism.

The legislation offers a path to residency, but it's the timing of the bill that's raising eyebrows.

The White House legislation is being developed as members in both chambers of Congress are working on a bipartisan bill.

A U.S. senator from Arizona is part of that effort and isn't happy about the leaked immigration bill that he says, is going no where.

He's not the only Republican critical of the bill.

"I don't think it'll get through Congress," said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The President's proposal, leaked to USA Today, calls for illegal immigrants to get visas, allowing them to stay in the country while they wait for permanent legal status, which could take eight years.

Arpaio says he likes the idea of work permits and visas, but not for those who crossed the border illegally.

"I just have a little problem in those that have violated the law came into our country to reward them and all the others that wait have to go through years and years of waiting. To me, that's not fair," said Arpaio.

Lydia Guzman, chair of the League of United Latin American Citizens agrees with much of the President's proposal, which includes background checks and would require immigrants to learn English and government history. Although, she does not support any spending more on border enforcement.

"It's a moderate plan because it does offer the legal permanent residency that we're looking for even though it is eight years, but it does give the opportunity," said Guzman.

"We're crafting a bipartisan plan and I believe it can pass what the president talking about is not something that can pass Congress," said Flake.

Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake is a member of the Senate "Gang of Eight," working on a bi-partisan solution to immigration reform.

He says the President's bill undermines their efforts and will not go anywhere.

"It's not complete. It doesn't have the border security elements we're working on, it doesn't have a guest worker plan, it has a kind of expedited path to citizenship that doesn't take into account border security," said Flake.

The White House says the President is simply following through on his promise to have a plan of his own ready to go if congress fails to act.

"I've been saying since I've been fighting this battle, 'stop talking about it', which they still are, of course, and 'do something about it'," said Arpaio.

Flake says we'll see the bi-partisan draft by early to mid-March.

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